Confed Cup: South Africa 0 – 0 Iraq
The opening match of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup has just been completed here in Jozi. And all-in-all, a disappointing affair for all concerned. Here’s our potted high- and low-lights.
The Opening Ceremony:
Wonderful performances by the cast. I especially enjoyed the youngsters painting their white t-shirts and forming the South African flag – a very emotionally bunch we were around here when it was revealed.
The painting of the Confederations Cup logo from beneath the large white cloth was also very impressive.
Had a quiet chuckle when the SuperSport commentators, during the break, said “we’ll be back with all the 1st half highlights.” It was going to be a pretty short highlights reel.
Macbeth Sibaya’s shot in 14th minute was about it. Teko Modise in the first quarter was pretty mediocre considering the hype surrounding the man.
Thembi Fanteni and Modise had a much better start to the 2nd half, with much better interplay between the two. Again, all in vain.
Ali Husseins’ acrobatic backward bicycle clearance in the 58th minute brought a moment of pleasure for the Iraqis, but they had a fairly awful game as well. Their captain, Younis Mamoud (sp?) did have a significantly better game than SA captain, Aaron Mokeona, who didn’t seem to be on the pitch at all.
A much better effort in the second half by Bafana. But both teams continued to make a number of very poor efforts from set pieces: over-kicked corners, long passes directed straight to the opposition, and at least eight wasted free-kicks. The free-kick after Modise was pushed just outside the box was the most obvious of these, with Modise firing straight into the wall.
The 79th minute breakaway by the Bafana substitute, and Bernard Parkers’ play in the last quarter impressed. Sadly this came to an abrupt end when he stopped the only potential scoring opportunity we had by landing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. “Farcical play by Parker” was how the commentator saw it, perhaps a little unfairly.
Stephen Pienaar arrived with just 5 minutes left to play – why was he left off for so long?
The goalless draw was probably the fairest reflection of the game, with Iraq most likely being the happier of the two teams, considering the occasion and the opposition. Bafana did have the better game, especially in the 2nd half, but there is a lot to do before the next game. Overall, a disappointing affair.